Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, American, Breakfast
Open Monday through Friday 6:30 to 10:30, 11:30 to 2:30, and 5:30 to 10:30. Saturday and Sunday 11 to 2:30 and 5:30 to 11:30.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West, Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Soft-shell crab; crispy sweetbreads; warm Swiss-chard pie; sturgeon rillettes with caviar; roasted chicken; pork weisswurst with red cabbage; short-rib hash and cinnamon-bun French toast (breakfast and brunch); house-made ice creams.
Appetizers $8 to $18, entrées $18 to $32.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Valet Parking Available, Weekend Brunch
Cuisine: Perhaps nowhere is provenance made more of than at chef Brian McBride’s hearth-like hotel kitchen, where the menu lists every farm, city, or town that the main ingredients in his seasonal and regional dishes come from. Top-notch raw materials are the foundation for what might be termed upscale downscale cooking—think glazed carrots or hand-cut fries served in copper vessels and portioned to share.
Mood: The multi-room space with glass walls, slate floors, and Shaker furniture can feel austere in daylight, but it glows pleasantly after the sun sets. The restaurant has become a hot spot for power players—including the President and First Lady—and it’s not uncommon to see Secret Service agents.
Best for: Brunch (one of the best in town) or an impressive dinner, with equally impressive people-watching, for finicky out-of-towners.
Best dishes: The menu changes frequently, but standouts have included soft-shell crab; crispy sweetbreads; warm Swiss-chard pie; sturgeon rillettes with caviar; roasted chicken; pork weisswurst with red cabbage; short-rib hash and cinnamon-bun French toast (breakfast and brunch); house-made ice creams.
Insider tips: Desserts are as large and shareable as the entrées. Pacing can be a problem, but the servers are excellent and willing to help chart your courses—and maybe throw in a free glass of wine for the pleasure of doing so.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Expensive.